Online Reviews

By Dr. Andrew Irvine
April 09, 2015
Category: Foot Care

Will you see Jae Lee at the Expo?Calgary welcomes your favorite pop culture figures to the 10th anniversary of the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo at Stampede Park on April 16-19, 2015. It’s your chance to see Walking Dead cast members, Garrett Wang and Rene Auberjonois from Star Trek, Bruce Timm and Jae Lee of Batman comic fame, or Mick Foley, WWE Hall of Famer, and many more. With all the fans milling around and gawking, it could also be your chance to come home with a foot injury. We don’t want that to happen, so here are some hints to keep your feet safe while enjoying the extravaganza:

  • Go in costume if you like, but put something sensible on your feet. No teetering heels, no flimsy flip flops, and no tight shoes that pinch your toes. They could lead to an ankle sprain, broken toe, or blister, and no superhero could save you from sore feet after long hours walking around in them!
  • We know you’ll be staring at the stars, vendors, and crowds, but watch where you walk. Uneven surfaces could trip you up, crowded places invite others to step on your feet, and slippery floors could be your downfall—literally! Even if it means removing your superhero mask, look where you are going.
  • Take a cue from your favorite superhero and travel light. Not only can a huge tote bag or purse weigh you down and cause back problems after a while, it can also snag on things and cause you to lose your balance or twist an ankle.
  • Even Superman needs to rest! Overuse can lead to tendinitis or metatarsalgia (forefoot pain), so take a break now and then and get off your feet. If possible, elevate them when you stop for a snack, or rotate and stretch them while you are watching one of the shows. Even if it’s just lifting up your toes and heels while you sit, try to move regularly to keep the blood flowing.

After a long day, pamper your feet when you get home or back to your hotel. Try a warm (not hot) foot soak, foot massage, or icing to relieve pressure points, soreness, or swelling. If you do get injured, call Axis Foot & Ankle Clinic in Calgary, AB at (403) 477-3338 and we’ll take care of you as soon as possible.

Photo Credit: Nemo via

By Dr. Andrew Irvine
April 03, 2015
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Metatarsalgia   Dancing  

Dancing is a common cause for ball of the foot painPain in the ball of the foot is a common occurrence in student and professional dancers. Just ask the junior students who are preparing for the Dance@Noon series at the University of Calgary’s Doolittle Theatre on April 6 - 8. The constant leaping and landing on the forefoot puts a lot of strain on the metatarsal bones and joints located just behind your toes.

Ball of foot pain, also called metatarsalgia, can occur for many other reasons, too. Toe deformities like hammertoes, excessively high arches that concentrate more of your weight on this area, and neuromas (enlarged nerves) between your toes can all cause pain in your forefoot. It can also be due to stress fractures, joint diseases, calluses or sores, or the degeneration of fat pads under the area.

Whatever is causing the pain in the ball of your foot, there is one thing you really need to do: rest. Stop dancing, jogging, playing basketball, jump-roping, or anything else that causes impact or pressure to this area of your foot. That includes the shoes you wear. High heels aggravate pain in your forefoot because they force all your weight right onto the tender spot. They often have tight, pointed toe areas that scrunch up your toes and throw off your gait, too.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be active at all. You could always swim, bicycle, or use the elliptical machine to keep up your cardio, and work on a regimen that stretches your Achilles and strengthens your foot muscles to lessen the pressure on the ball of your foot. Remember, icing can reduce pain in this area, and we can suggest pain relievers as well.

We can recommend many conservative treatments that could alleviate your discomfort. Quality athletic shoes will better support and cushion your foot, and additional metatarsal pads, foam or gel insoles, arch supports, or custom orthotics can help rebalance the weight more evenly over your feet.

If none of these help and the pain is getting worse, Axis Foot & Ankle Clinic can discuss other treatments such as ultrasound therapy or surgical options. We want to help you find the answer to your pain, so call us in Calgary, AB, at (403) 477-3338 for an appointment. You can choose from our Scenic Acres, Pacific Place, or Deer Valley Family Medical clinic locations. Let us help you heal so you can start dancing again! 

Photo Credit: geralt via 

Keep your feet clean and dry to fight fungus!After a long, cold winter, the spring sunshine and warmer temps make you feel really great. You want to kick off your shoes and dance to the Latin-style blues and jazz of trumpeter Michael Philip Mossman, who is appearing at University Theatre on March 30—or maybe not. If hiding your feet in thick socks and waterproof boots all winter has left you with a bad case of athlete’s foot, you may not want anyone to see those patches of red, itchy, scaly skin at all—including you!

Fungal infections are easy to catch and difficult to get rid of. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot (and fungal nails, too) is found all over the environment, but especially in warm, damp places like gyms and pools where you go to work out when it’s too cold outside. The dark, warm, and moist environment in your shoes is also a favorite hideout.

So, what do you do if you have picked up an infection this winter? You can try home remedies, like keeping your feet scrupulously clean and as dry as possible. That means washing them every day to get rid of fungus and bacteria, patting them dry—including between toes where the infection often begins, and using baking soda or cornstarch on them and in your shoes to absorb moisture throughout the day. When you moisturize your feet, try a blend of tea tree or lavender oil (antifungal properties) and olive oil or aloe vera gel.

Go ahead and take off your shoes several times a day, too, to air out your feet. Bring extra socks to work so you can change when the first pair gets sweaty, and choose the kind that draws moisture away from your skin and lets it escape. Switch out between two different pairs of breathable shoes, so each pair has at least 24 hours to dry out between wearing.

There are several products found in pharmacies that contain medication to treat athlete’s foot fungus. These are worth a try, but if you follow these suggestions and the infection is still giving you trouble, we can prescribe stronger medications to help defeat the infection. Don’t hesitate to call Axis Foot & Ankle Clinic at (403) 477-3338 in Calgary, AB. We’ll soon have your feet playing a different tune!

Photo Credit: Hans VIA

By Dr. Andrew Irvine
March 19, 2015
Category: Heel pain
Tags: heel pain   running   Laser Therapy  

Running with heel pain is no fun!We’ve had a few warmer days in March. Could spring finally be coming to Calgary? How about helping it along a little by breaking some ice—at the Ice Breaker 10K Road Race on Sunday, March 29. If heel pain is keeping you out of racing at the moment, you can at least go and cheer the runners on. Or, you could come to Axis Foot & Ankle Clinic and try laser therapy to get rid of your discomfort—maybe in time for the race!

What exactly is laser therapy? It is a concentrated wavelength of light aimed directly at the painful area to stimulate the cells’ own healing mechanisms. Check out our infographic for more details about how it works. The treatment is quick and painless, there are no risky side effects, and partial relief can usually be felt after just one treatment. A course of several weekly treatments can eliminate most of your pain and allow you to resume your normal activities.

This is great news for runners who have tried lots of other remedies for heel pain from plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis. When RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation), massages, stretching, and orthotics don’t give you the relief you need, this may be your next step.

A treatment takes about 15 minutes, and the only thing you will feel may be a slight warming in the area. There are no incisions to become infected, no medications to cause reactions, and no dressings to deal with afterwards. Just put on your shoes again and head out the door.

Call our Calgary, AB office at (403) 477-3338 to schedule your first appointment, or request one through our website. We have three convenient locations, so you can choose the one nearest you. If you are ready to get rid of your sore heels, don’t delay—call today.

Photo Credit: Stuart Miles via

By Dr. Andrew Irvine
March 12, 2015
Category: Bunions

Girls should avoid tall high heelsCalgary has wonderful dance schools for kids, where they can learn styles from ballet to jazz to hip-hop. While dancing is not likely to cause bunions, they can certainly be a painful problem that makes dancing—and many other activities—difficult. If your daughter (or son) has developed this bony bump at the big toe joint, here are some tips to tone down the pain:

  • Find great shoes. Those tight little ballet flats are not a great choice for daily wear, and heels shouldn’t be too tall for growing girls, either. Soccer shoes can also have really tight toes and cause a problem in boys and girls. Find roomy shoes that let your child’s toes lie flat and wiggle around.
  • Pad the joint. You can find moleskin or other pads at a pharmacy that will protect the bump from rubbing against shoes and becoming irritated. You could also try some of the inserts available that will separate the great toe from the second one.
  • Massage and ice the area. Sometimes gentle massage can work to loosen up the joint, and a bag of frozen corn wrapped in a towel and wrapped around the bump for 10-15 minutes can bring down swelling and numb the pain.

Axis Foot & Ankle Clinic provides expert children’s foot care in the Calgary area. We can examine your child’s foot and see what is causing the bunion to form. Sometimes our custom orthotics can address a biomechanical issue that is pressuring the toe to lean in (causing the joint to jut out). The insert goes in normal shoes and keeps the joint from moving the wrong way.

We hesitate to perform bunion surgery on children, as it is invasive and the result may not remain permanent as your daughter or son is still growing. However, if the bunion is pronounced and extremely painful, we may consider a procedure to correct it. This will mean six weeks in a cast and another month of gradually bearing weight on the foot.

If bunions are making your child miserable, call Axis Foot & Ankle Clinic at (403) 477-3338 for an appointment at one of our three offices. 

Photo Credit: stokpic via

By Dr. Andrew Irvine
March 05, 2015
Category: Toe Conditions

Are your baby’s toes overlapping?When your newborn first arrived, you were intensely interested in everything about your new baby, and checking fingers and toes is probably one of the first things you did. If so, you may have made the discovery that your baby’s pinky toe is curled up and over the fourth one. Overlapping toes tend to run in families, so maybe the sight is familiar to you from your own feet, but what does this mean for your child?

If you were born with this deformity, your doctor may have showed your mom how to gently stretch it into position or tape it straight for the first few weeks. In mild cases, that could be enough to help it grow straight. In more serious cases, however, that may only work for a while before the toe reverts to the overlapping position.

The condition won’t be a problem in early life, while your baby’s bones are still soft and malleable, and he or she will not be in pain. Later on, however, the bent toe can become rigid as the bones start to harden. Then it will start rubbing on your child’s shoes and could cause pain while they are walking. That’s why many podiatrists recommend surgery to correct the problem before it gets to that point.

At Axis Foot & Ankle Clinic, we excel at correcting deformities like bunions, hammertoes, and others. The earlier you bring your child in, the better the chance that we can successfully take care of your little one’s deformity—either conservatively or with surgery.

You may not like the idea of surgery on your baby’s toes, but the procedure usually involves only skin and soft tissue repair, or possibly a simple tendon release if needed. Don’t worry—we do lots of surgeries and are very good at what we do. In really serious cases, we may need to straighten it by inserting a pin for a few weeks, followed by a splint until it heals straight.

We have three Calgary, AB, offices, so call (403) 477-3338 and set up an appointment at the location nearest you (at Scenic Acres, Pacific Place, or Deer Valley Family Medical Clinics). We’ll walk you through every step of the process for correcting your baby’s overlapping toes.

Photo Credit: cooperm via Stock.xchng

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